An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers has been making the rounds throughout the country, sheriff's officials reported Wednesday. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. Authorities say the con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about the individuals they are calling (there is a lot of information that can be obtained by anyone over the internet) , and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with being sued or arrested. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) never demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3)never require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) never threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
"I would like to ask that you do not provide any personal information to these callers," Sheriff Doyle Wooten states. "Hang up the phone, note the number being called from, and contact your local law enforcement and report the call."
Officials stated the sheriff's office received numerous calls Wednesday from citizens in reference to being contacted by the IRS and threatened with suit if they do not pay an outstanding IRS debt. The number reported was 1-862-283-4858. Douglas Now also received an email from a concerned reader who had been targeted by a similar scam and reported the call he received was from phone number 989-980-2771.
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